Sep 11

Sky Report: September 12-18

The moon rises late, leaving the evening sky dark, so this week and next is a great time to enjoy the wonders of the summer sky. There’s a lot you can see with your eyes alone, and of course more with binoculars. This week I’ll describe what you can see of the Milky Way, our […]

Sep 2

Sky Report: September 5 – 11

Four bright planets are out tonight, although not at the same time. In order of rising they are: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. Mercury is between the earth and sun and can’t be seen. Saturn is everybody’s favorite planet when seen through a telescope. It’s low in the east as darkness falls. If you do […]

Aug 28

Sky Report: August 29 – September 4

Starting in the evening with the planets, you might look for Mercury low in the west immediately after sunset but you probably won’t see it, it’s so low. I mention it for completeness. On the evening of the 29th it’s 7° below the thin crescent moon and you might look for it then. Have a […]

Aug 20

Sky Report: August 22-28

The naked-eye planets are pretty much where they’ve been all month, but you might look for one “minor planet”. More on it momentarily. First, Mercury is making a poor appearance in the evening sky. You might see it in twilight slightly to the left of where the sun just set. Mercury is only about 10° […]

Aug 14

Sky Report: August 15-21

We seldom see a planet in the daytime, for good reason. Venus is surprisingly easy to see if you know exactly where to look, and that’s the trick – where in the sky is it, exactly? You can see Jupiter and sometimes Mars too, with greater effort, but again the trick is to know where […]

Aug 6

Sky Report: August 8-14

The good news is that the best meteor shower of the year happens this week. The bad news is that bright moonlight will ruin it. Every year the earth passes through a swarm of debris shed long ago by Comet Swift-Tuttle and we see a meteor shower as these sand-size debris particles fall through our […]

Jul 31

Sky Report: August 1 – 7

First, meteors. The Delta Aquarid meteors continue from July. A huge number of meteors fall in this shower but they’re spread over several weeks so the number per hour is only around a dozen. They radiate from the constellation Aquarius in the south in the morning. By far the most popular shower of the year […]

Jul 24

Sky Report: July 25-31

Late-July through mid-August is the best time to watch for meteors, partly because it’s warm at night but mostly because there are two good showers, one long and one short. First of all, meteors are debris mostly the size of dust to sand, and mostly shed by comets, that encounter the earth and fall through […]

Jul 16

Sky Report: July 18-24

All the planets except Mercury are visible tonight. Saturn rises around 10 p.m. so it’s in the evening sky. You’ll find it low in the east-southeast at midnight. Saturn is in eastern Capricornus. Jupiter rises two hours later and follows Saturn across the sky. Being both larger and closer it’s much brighter — 16 times […]

Jul 10

Sky Report: July 11-17

The moon is full on Wednesday, July 13, at precisely 12:38:26 p.m. MDT. How long is the moon full? Just for that one instant. It’s full for as long as it’s midnight, or any other time – just for that moment. In practice we say the moon is full for that entire night. But what […]